3 Spiritual Lessons My Atheist Father Taught Me That Improved the Quality of My Life
My father is an atheist — the only atheist in our entire family yet the only person who follows the rules and philosophy of religion.
Having said that, I have seen my father living a very honest life. When I say honest, I don’t mean going to the places of people and telling them the truth or pearls of wisdom.
I mean a life that is honest to himself.
Something he taught me when I was moving to another city for college. Let’s explore it:
1. Live an Honest Life that Feels True to You:
You must have experienced or seen people changing completely just to fit into a place.
People who changed so much that they cannot even recognize themselves. Maybe you are that person or maybe you have seen such a person in your life.
But the question is ‘Why do we change as per our surroundings?’
The answer is — it takes courage to REJECT things or people or ideas that don’t suit your principles. Some people have the courage while some people don’t want to come out as rude or they simply want to fit in at least for once in their lives.
In any case, when you first do something that is ‘not true to you’, you betray yourself. The more you do it, the farther away you go from yourself. And then you start to feel a detachment from your own life like you are there but you don’t feel the person you used to be.
When I was going to college, my father said indirectly to me ‘You will meet a lot of people with a different way of living and personality. Have fun with them but don’t forget yourself among them.’
He further said, ‘It’s easy to run for the shiny objects until you realize you lost the shine of your soul just to chase the darkness of the world.’
This one advice helped me to stay connected to the life that was true to me while having fun and making friends all along. I never drank alcohol, for example. Just because I personally think ‘there are more ways to enjoy life.’ While I don’t judge others who do drink, I was often judged and mocked. Though it didn’t matter.
Because I was living a life that was true to me. Some people changed completely from my class because they wanted to belong to a group and they simply didn’t have the courage to walk alone.
You can see no life in their eyes even when they are in their 20s. Why? Because they lost the shine of their soul to follow the darkness of the world.
Having said that, I don’t mean a certain way of living is superior to another. I just want to tell you, ‘The world is big and there are so many people with many opinions, personalities, and ways of living and enjoying life. If you don’t hold onto yourself, you will lose yourself.’
2. Whatever You Do, It Defines You:
Did you notice how our world is becoming more ‘external’ focused than ‘internal focused?’
I mean how everyone is so eager to point out the mistake of others and doing the job of God saying ‘he did that, she is a b*tch, he shouldn’t have what he has, I am better than him,’ and more bullsh*t like this.
Firstly, ‘Who are you to judge anyone?’
And secondly, ‘Who do you think you are?’
For example; I used to complain about others to my father. I used to say, ‘he did that so he is such a bad person. How could you even talk to him?’
And my father says, ‘Whatever you do, good or bad, it defines you. If you do good to others, it’s because you like helping. If you steal from others or life, it’s because you like that. Nothing you do or say can impact me. In the end, with every action, word, and thought, you are building yourself. Your focus should be on ‘who you are building yourself into’ and forget about the doings of the world because if you think someone is doing bad things, it is defining them, not you. So, why do you worry so much?’
Since then, my habit of complaining about the actions of others has evaporated into thin air. In fact, I am now more ‘I’ focused — fixating on ‘Who am I becoming?’ and do I like the person I am turning into.
When my focus shifted from what others should do to who I am becoming, I became more mindful of my actions and words. I don’t say things I don’t mean and I do what I can to become a person I like. I now realize that I am more flawed than anyone and I don’t have time to focus on others but to build a good version of myself.
This is what I will ask you to do as well. Enough of whining and complaining about the character and actions of others. Let’s focus within. Let’s build ourselves into a version that we are proud of. Let’s build strong character and values that define us. Okay?
3. Stay Humble:
If you pick any religious book, they all recommend you to stay humble because the God who gave you everything can take everything in a second too.
My father doesn’t believe in religion but he does believe in staying humble. He often tells me the story of his struggling days reminding me — of where we came from and how time changes for all.
Though he never brags about everything he has built but he keeps telling stories of his past to remind us that ‘success and money come and go. Nothing is fixed. So help those who are in need and feel humbled that you could help someone. What you have today is a blessing or merely a phase of life, it may pass into something bad or greater. While you have more, pass along be it money or joy. Know in your heart that things can be taken away from you at any moment because life changes, that’s the law.’
Being humble is different from being kind. It simply means not letting power, money, or success take over you. It means staying true to your character and being in a state of gratitude for what you have.
I would ask you to do the same. If you have an exceptional skill, be thankful for it. If you have more money, be thankful for it. Don’t go out there looking down at people thinking ‘Oh, she is nothing compared to me.’ If you are a great writer, don’t look down on those who are just starting. If you have more money, don’t feel superior to those who are just getting by.
a) There is someone or some power more superior than us. If that power starts to look down on you, imagine what can it do.
b) What you have is a blessing. Enjoy and savor it. Be thankful for it. But don’t turn it into a weapon to hurt others.
I hope you find this article insightful enough to build a beautiful life for yourself. These are the few things that have helped me in staying true to myself and live a life that feels pleasant to me. I wish the same for you.
Until then, if you like my article my article, you will love my book — The Art of Being Alone.